According to a Yankees’ source, Hiroki Kuroda and the club have agreed to a one-year deal for a base salary of $15 million and $500,000 worth of incentives.
The deal is a win for each side. The Yankees aren’t offering free agents more than one year, and Kuroda, 38 in February, is taking it one year at a time despite being able to command a multi-year contract after going 16-11 with a 3.32 ERA in 33 starts in his first year in the muscular American League.
“I am very happy and excited to re-sign with the Yankees,” Kuroda said. “I am very grateful for all of the interest and all of the offers that I received from the various teams that courted me. It was a tough decision for me to make, but at the end of the day, I wanted to try to win a championship with the teammates that I went to battle with last season.”
Because the Yankees expect Andy Pettitte to inform them he wants to return for an 18th major league season, the club can expect to have a familiar look to the rotation.
Ace CC Sabathia should be ready for the April 1 Opening Day gig against the Red Sox after having bone spurs removed from the left elbow. Kuroda, who was the Yankees’ best starter in the second half, falls into the No. 2 slot followed Pettitte, who was 5-4 with a 2,87 ERA in 12 starts. Sixteen-game winner Phil Hughes has a spot locked. Ivan Nova, a disappointment last year, and David Phelps will fight for the fifth spot with Phelps the early favorite.
Kuroda’s return is the result of the Yankees putting an early offseason emphasis on pitching.
Catcher Russell Martin remains a free agent, and there is no replacement from within for right fielder Nick Swisher. But the Yankees, who watched closer Rafael Soriano become a free agent, made their rotation, a positive during the ALDS and ALCS, a priority.